Breaking a Slump

Early in this football season, the Philadelphia Eagles had no trouble winning 10 games and losing only one – then something got into their heads, a talented team began to believe those awful thoughts we’ve all had when we lose confidence.

  • That’s why people as well as sports teams have slumps – they try harder but get fewer results.
  • A hockey player on the schneid grips their stick even harder to break a scoring drought and that makes things worse (often it is an ugly goal that gets them off the schneid).
  • Humans cannot control everything but we always have control of the most important thing – how we think.

In tough times, double down on building up your confidence and do it like this – it’s not a matter of if, it’s when things go your way again.

Lonely Hearts

There is a loneliness epidemic sweeping the country, a Meta-Gallup poll says one in four of us feel lonely.

  • Young adults are the loneliest (27% 19-29).
  • The lowest loneliness is 17% of 65+.
  • The majority feel no loneliness or just a bit so being mindful is helpful but also part of the secret.

To boost your own feeling of belonging, reach out to others by phone, text, email, social media and in-person because the one who initiates contact gets the greatest benefit.

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More Important Than Food

Drive-thru traffic is on the increase, fast food restaurants are redesigning their buildings to have smaller dining rooms and mostly people are happy to have as little contact as possible when ordering and eating.

  • There is a greater hunger – for human contact – that is being neglected partially because of the effects of the covid pandemic and due to our growing reliance on digital devices and social media to replace in-person contact.
  • Mother Teresa, now posthumously a saint in her church, worked among the poor of India and she insisted that there is even a great hunger for love than there is for food.

If you agree, we can all share our humanity just the way we are with the people we meet today – a good way to feed those starved for human connection.

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One thing all of us want is acceptance.

  • When a person feels excluded, it makes for tenuous friendships or unsettled co-workers.
  • Being more accepting helps people get in touch with their feelings and reduces anxiety, depression and stress.
  • Even the most confident among us feel less secure when they sense that they are or being made to feel like outliers.

On the first day of a new semester, I emphasize to my students that we will operate in an atmosphere of approval and acceptance – that we may not always agree, but we are safe to be, act and think the way we want.

35,000 Decisions a Day!

That’s what the Journal of Health Psychology says we humans make every day.

  • We’re so used to it that we don’t even realize that we are constantly living with this onslaught of decision-making.
  • Add this to all the distractions we face and you can see why we are being overwhelmed and victims of overthinking.
  • Since we’re not conscious of the majority of these split-second triggers, concentrating on the ones we are aware of can be a gamechanger.

For the big ones:  get the facts, weigh the facts then plunge forward.

Track me, please!

It’s anxiety, social media, the violent times we’re living in are prompting teens to ask their parents to “Track Their Phones and Monitor Their Every Move” according to a recent poll highlighted in The Wall Street Journal.

  • 11-to-26 year-olds report that they use family location-sharing apps to foster a sense of security.
  • Apple has a popular tracking app with no shortage of other ways to monitor help.
  • Some college students check in with a parent before and/or after class – gladly so.
  • The app Life360 is a very popular way for young people to stay connected with parents.
  • Helicoptering is understandable but it does not promote building resilience, the missing ingredient to the next generation.

Can’t blame parents for caring or young people for being concerned but resilience is what prepares a person for life in 2024.

Doubling Down on You

In sports betting which is becoming increasingly popular, you can place a bet on almost anything in real time to gain a payoff – it’s addictive.

  • In life, we can bet on ourselves to succeed at almost anything in real time but we usually harbor doubts that can get in the way.
  • What if we placed a bet on ourselves when we are (for example) preparing a presentation while we’re doing it, or in the midst of a big decision to make or problem to solve?

If we can believe that we will win a bet in the middle of a live game, imagine what we could do when we place that bet on ourselves as we are working.

Body Language

My longtime friend and brilliant management consultant John Parikhal reminds me that research done in the 1960s demonstrates that communication is 55% body language, 38% tone and only 7% words.

  • The phone gives tone which is why it is more communicative. You also have to pay more attention when someone is speaking or you don’t know what they say.
  • The tricky place is body language — in theory, Zoom should give us lots of that. But since most people sit still, and you only see them from the shoulders up, we rarely get good body language on Zoom so it isn’t such a great form of communication either.

It’s not just one thing – texts don’t do it, Zoom fails the test and even talking on the phone is only one aspect of effective communication.

Email or Call?

According to Amit Sood, MD research shows that the spoken word sounds more polite than sending an email.

  • Emails are brief and miss body language, eye contact, emphasis, inflection and pauses – details that often convey greater meaning than the words themselves.
  • The mind often fills in missing information with negative assumptions.
  • Emoticons help, but they only go so far.

Chasing Your Dream

If there is something that you really want, what are you willing to do to achieve it?

  • Fail, get up, try again, fail, get up, try again – the math works like this, the more times you keep trying, the closer your dream comes to reality.
  • Be bold, do something you have never done and do it with confidence – that’s the ticket to punch for transcending the norm.
  • Postpone immediate gratification for achieving your actual goal.

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